please explain this pairing to me, is it politics, ego or something else

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by EKnee08, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Hi All:

    Let me preface this by saying that I have competed in USTA leagues in the past at the 4.0 both in singles and doubles. The first season, I played 1st and 2nd doubles with various partners in a USTA men's league. Several years later, after improving my technique considerably, I played 1st or second singles in a different USTA men's league. Shortly after this, I won several 4.5 level tournaments and club pros told me that I was probably a 5.0

    Almost 3 years ago I moved into a townhouse development that fielded a team in an under 60 country club league. They field 5 doubles per match. I started at 3 the first few times but was moved down to 4 and 5. I always ended up with a very weak partner who could not move well, had a glaring weakness, such as serve, return and backhand, etc. In all instances, when I set up a point, they could not finish it, etc., etc. I played with various different guys.

    There is a pro who was paid by the development who supposedly put the combinations together. However, I hit with him occassionally and he told me unsolicited that I was probably 1 of the top 2 players there, and had the best overall game. He was not the captain. Two older guys were captains. One who is pretty good but inconsistent and the other who has glaring weaknesses including the inability to hit a backhand.

    This past season, I played with the later once. We are both lefties, and I played the deuce court although I am stronger in the ad court since my backhand is much stronger than his. Before we started the match, we discussed and agreed that balls down the middle were mine (I have a very strong forehand and he has a very weak backhand). During the match he kept going after balls down the middle with his backhand, even when i called it. Of course, he missed. etc., etc., etc.

    I decided to quit the team after the match. It was no fun and I was frustrated after every match. I pretended to have an injury so I would not be asked to play.

    I know how to play basic doubles. I was honorable mention all state in high school, and all county in the late 1970s and improved my game into my 30s and early 40s.

    The bottom line is this. I don't think I deserved to play first doubles, but certainly 2nd or 3rd. I am a better singles than doubles player but I have reasonable doubles experience. However, I don't understand why was I being positioned at 4 and 5 where I had to carry my partner without a great chance of success. I was never given the opportunity to play with a partner with whom there would be good chemistry. I also ended up playing with different guys almost every time. Our 2s and 3s didn't fare any better in competition.
    Is it politics, ego, or something else?
     
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  2. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps it's politics, perhaps it's favoritism, perhaps the captains are taking care of their buddies and putting this ahead of what's best for the team. None of these are unheard of in team tennis.

    But it's also possible that they recognize your strength and think that the best chance of maximizing it for the good of the team is to pair you up with a weaker player that otherwise would have no hope of winning. So maybe this way they can get a 'bonus' win on a court where otherwise there would be no chance. In which case, you could view it as a compliment that they think you are good enough to lift a weaker player to a win.
     
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  3. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Unless this particular league has a mandate to line players up on courts based on ability, almost no one does. If you consistently put your strongest players on court 1 and weakest on court 5, it'll be easy for your opponents to overmatch you on 3 of 5 courts. People like to brag about playing #1 Doubles, but in most league play that pretty much means you're NOT the best doubles player on the team. I realize that's not true in some High School leagues. I don't know about college tennis.

    And, I agree with what OrangePower posted.

    The thing is, you're asking US why your captain did what he did? Ask your captain!
     
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  4. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I'd also agree with Orange. On my USTA team there were many doubles teams that had a weak player with a strong player. I thought it was for the reason mentioned by Orange - to hope to eke out a win with the stronger player either dominating or the weaker player raising their level of play.

    I always find it challenging to play with weaker partners, especially if they are the weakest of the four on the court. I usually have to get much more aggressive in my play, minimize my errors and hope that they will have a few good hits per game to have a chance to win.
     
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  5. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Yes, and when you're the weakest player on the court you need to know how to keep the ball in play, set up your partner whenever possible, and just try not to do something stupid to lose the point before your partner has a chance to win it.
     
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  6. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    You are playing tennis with a team being fielded from a townhouse developement... depending on how serious the organizers are you are going to get varying results... in your case it sounds like they are somewhat serious (hiring a pro) but it sounds like the team is there to fuel the ego of those organizing it. Unless you are part of the inner circle you will probably not be playing in the top tier of pairings.

    I have found this is aways the case unless the team is being organized by someone who has nothing personally invested in it (ie. doesn't play on the team). If it bothers you then not playing is probably the best solution for you... but for me it would not quench my thirst to play.

    As for weaker partners... it is the job of the stronger player to help support the weaker players game, mentally and physically. For the two of you to work out a tactic that would maximize the best in your games and to hide the deficiencies. At the end of the day it is not so much about the winning but the competing, afterall unless we get paid are we good enough to worry about winning? Play hard... have fun... support and enjoy the success of your partner.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    My theory? You are The New Guy.

    The New Guy to the team is surrounded by people with established relationships. No way is The New Guy going to get one of the better players, who is already happy with his existing partners.

    That leaves you playing with The Others. That would be the players who have glaring deficiencies and those with pronounced personality disorders. The captain has to pair those players with someone, so the captain pairs them with you.

    Why? Well, you never know. Maybe you will carry one of those players. Maybe you are a shrink who can get through to the nut jobs.

    But most likely, what has happened is that many other teammates have said they do not want to play with certain people. All the captain can do is give them to you and see if you can do something with them. Hence your current situation.

    I have to admit, I do this to new players all the time. I will usually try to start them off with a nice, experienced player. But I have to try them out with the weak players (I have no nut jobs on my team). Maybe they will find a way to win.

    Or maybe they will simply be too nice to say anything.

    I suggest you speak up to your captain. If you do not, you will be the permanent partner of one of these jokers because you never objected.

    Cindy -- who has had most of her unfortunate partner experiences as The New Guy
     
    #7
  8. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    A reminder

    Reading posts like this reminds me of why I like being a roving singles guy that plays at a bunch of clubs, outdoors, wherever I can get to hit with competitors. I sub in with some doubles groups, but no marriages.

    My daughters have been matched up at #1 doubles with weak partners (high school level) for the last couple of years. They have a reason to slog on, it's for their school.
     
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  9. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    You make a big deal about how good you are, yet you are unable to win at #3, #4, or #5 doubles. You only blame your partners for your losses, you take no blame for yourself. You play with a captain of your team, you apparantly you lose with him. For some reason you make up an injury rather than simply saying you don't want to play with the league any more.

    Based on the above, my guess is that the guys on the league did not want you on the team anymore, you were unable to win any doubles even though you talk about what a great player your are, also, you are unable to take responsbility for any losses, for your carping about how good you are, and for lying about having an injury.


     
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  10. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Thank you Damazing, GeezerGuy, Ripper014, Cindysphinx, Orangepower and Sakkijarvi. You all make valid points. However, if I decide to give it a go again with these guys, I will take Cindy's advice and point blank ask what is the story.
     
    #10
  11. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    have played doubles before and after and never had a problem before. I currently play with a regular group of guys.

    I never said I am a great player, based on how often I play and my age, I am probably a strong 4.0, which does not make me a "great." player but stronger than the guys i was playing with. I certainly am far from perfect.
    Regarding the one player, There is more than 1 captain and the guy I am talking about criticizes but can not take any diplomatic suggestions. In the match in question, he asked me to play the deuce court, recognizing my backhand is much stronger than his. Since we are both lefties-My forehand and his backhand were down the middle. Everytime I called for the ball in the middle, which was an easy shot for me, he took it with his backhand and missed!
    If I missed one point on a return game we would lose the game.

    Let me clarify re injury- I got injured and when I felt better about 2 to 3 weeks later , I did not inform the team. Basically, I did not enjoy playing with the guys I was partnered with and decided that I did not want to get frustrated anymore.
    Regarding never won, I won a few and lost a few and probably won a little more than losing. Thats not the point. . I have filled in doubles games at a club with guys who were at this skill level and had fun.
    In addition, there is a group of guys from another team in the league in question who play during the winter who asked me to join their game.
     
    #11

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